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Cardinals view rivalry game with 49ers as chance to right the ship

The last time Arizona Cardinals quarterback John Skelton faced the San Francisco 49ers he was entering the game as a replacement for an injured Kevin Kolb.

It was Week 14 of the season, and Skelton completed 19-of-28 passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns. He was picked off twice in the game, but the Cardinals won 21-19.

Of course, the game brought with it a sense of redemption of sorts, as Skelton’s previous start against the 49ers resulted in a 23-7 loss where the QB completed just 6-of-19 passes for 99 yards with three interceptions.

Those games don’t mean much for Skelton or the Cardinals right now, other than the fact that the teams will square off again Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals, at 4-3 and losers of three straight, could use a win against their division rival.

“It’s just a chance to kind of get back on track after these three games that we lost,” Skelton said. “We win this game it kind of rights all wrongs.”

It would be nice, wouldn’t it?

The Cardinals and 49ers have a strong rivalry, so while any win would be nice, this one would be a little sweeter.

Skelton understands that, even though his time with the Cardinals has been when the battles have been a little one-sided. The 49ers have won five of the last six meetings, some — like the meeting in San Francisco last season — in one-sided fashion.

“Being here three years, it seems like every time we play the Niners or the week leading up to it, it’s always extra-heightened,” Skelton said. “A lot of guys are a little more focused, a little more anxious to get on the field against these guys.”

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, always a proponent of the importance of division games, added that he understands there is a “a little bit of a rivalry” against Monday night’s opponent.

“It was nice to finally get a win against them last year,” Whisenhunt said.

Whisenhunt likened the rivalries that the Pittsburgh Steelers have with Baltimore, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

“This division is becoming a lot like that division, from a physical, smashmouth type, defensive division.

“These division games become brawls.”

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